Updated: Apr 17
Somehow, living in the middle of a field in the Alentejo, it seems right to use the land for its original purpose – farming – even if I am only playing at it!
Looking out of my kitchen window as I wash the dishes there is nothing better than to see brown, black and white spotty pigs meandering through the pig paddock – chewing clumps of grass, nosing up insects and other edibles’ or cavorting along side people or vehicles coming along the path.
Our latest additions, two very splendid girls who arrived shortly before Christmas were christened Bangers and Mash by my niece. Although they perhaps should have been called Bangers and Bash as their exuberance when I enter the pig paddock involves running at my legs in an endeavour to use me as a rubbing post.
Bangers and Mash are soon to be six months, which means they will be coming into season for the first time. My plan, when we first had them, was to also buy a male piglet so we would have an in-house husband for the girls. I wanted to find one from another family and, if at all possible, a white boar with black spots of the Piétran breed.
In January there was a sighting of a litter of said piglets about half an hour from here and with great excitement I tried to get in touch with the farmer but to no avail. Undeterred I cast my net a little wider and soon a café owner was accosting me in the local supermarket to tell me that he had such a piglet arriving on Wednesday for me.
Stupidly I didn’t ask: Wednesday of which week, month or year… and yes, you guessed it, said piglet has yet to materialise. Patience is an attribute with which I have not been overly blessed, but living in the Alentejo is, out of necessity, teaching it to me.